For all of their accomplishments over the first seven weeks of the Pacific Coast League season, there was one little thing the first-place Tacoma Rainiers had not done: pitch a shutout.
Donn Roach and the Rainiers bullpen took care of that task on Tuesday night in Round Rock, delivering a five-hit whitewashing of the Express, 3-0.
Roach went the first seven innings, giving up four hits without walking anyone. Throwing 87 pitches and retiring 12 batters in a row at one point, Roach was in complete command.
“Everything was working for him,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “He threw all of his pitches for strikes, he got his ground balls, and he worked ahead in the count.”
It was the third consecutive strong outing for Roach (4-2), who nearly made the Mariners opening day roster as a reliever. Over his past three starts, he has allowed three runs in 19 2/3 innings.
Mayckol Guaipe allowed a single during a scoreless eighth inning, and Blake Parker delivered a scoreless ninth to finish the shutout and earn the 100th save of his minor league career.
Tacoma (28-17) scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning, when Stefen Romero singled in Boog Powell with one out.
That was the only run Round Rock starter Chi-Chi Gonzalez (1-5) allowed in six innings of work, but he exited the game trailing 1-0.
The bottom of the Tacoma lineup provided the rest of the offense, with the lower third of the order combining for eight hits.
“Our 7-8-9 hitters would not bat 7-8-9 for some other teams,” Listach said. “We expect them to have good nights like that.”
No. 8 hitter Dario Pizzano tripled with one out in the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Shank. Shank went 3 for 3 in the No. 9 spot.
In the ninth inning, No. 7 hitter Tyler Smith collected his third hit of the game, a two-out double off the left-field fence. He scored on a single to left-center by Pizzano.
Tacoma was not the last PCL team to pitch a shutout this year. That honor will go to Colorado Springs, when or if they pitch one. … With his scoreless inning on Monday, reliever Kraig Sitton maintained his season-long 0.00 earned run average. He has pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings in 13 appearances split between Double-A Jackson and Tacoma.
The series continues with a 5:05 p.m. (PDT) game on Wednesday. Tacoma starts Joe Wieland (3-3, 8.83 ERA) against Round Rock’s Nick Martinez (4-2, 5.26).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.